November 22, 2009

English in China Today

It's great to know that China is still crazy about learning English to close the gap with other international cities. Hopefully that means job security for a while teaching English to students here in Harbin (or more generally in China). Check out the article below:

Beijing campaigns for English learning1 (November 13, 2009,
The Beijing Foreign Affairs Office plans to persuade more citizens to learn English in order to enhance the city's soft power, the Beijing Youth Daily reported recently. According to Director of the Beijing Foreign Affairs Office Zhao Huimin, the gap of the international environment between Beijing and other big cities in the world is still wide. Beijing needs to be more active in having more people speak foreign languages fluently. In addition, the capital also needs to improve its foreign language services. "Although the Olympic Games are now over, Beijing's modernizing and internationalizing process is in no way ending," Zhao said. According to Zhao, there are two tasks that the office is dealing with. One is to encourage more people to learn foreign languages. The other is to correct bizarre English signs in public.

A second article says that China is quickly catching India as the leading nation sending college students to study in America. "While India was, for the eighth consecutive year, the leading country of origin for international students - sending 103,260 students, a 9 percent increase over the previous year - China is rapidly catching up, sending 98,510 last year, a 21 percent increase."2

At the zoo this week to celebrate Kanyon's birthday I found a "bizarre English sign in public" in the men's restroom. Above the urinals the sign read, "Closer, easier."

1 "Beijing campaigns for English learning" ZGBriefs for November 19, 2009
2 "China Is Sending More Students to U.S." ZGBriefs for November 19, 2009

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